JAMESTOWN, N.Y. -- Jamestown Police say folks in the area have reported being targeted via social media, email and telephone by scams in the past week.
Several reports say people targeted by the scam were informed via social media and email that they were the winners of a lottery and they would need to text a number to claim a substantial cash prize.
Those contacted were then instructed by text to send Western Union funds or to electronically transfer Apple iTunes cards or prepaid Visa Cards that value $550 or more to pay for the processing fee for their prize.
After this transaction was made, people were not contacted again, police say, and they lost their money.
Other reports say people have been contacted by phone by those who claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They tell victims they are being sued and they owe back money for payments for tax funds. They also say that the person contacted will go to jail if the funds are not paid.
The person contacted is then instructed to wire the money or to electronically send pre-paid cards.
Police say residents should ignore such posts, emails and telephone calls and should never give out personal information over the phone or electronically to a source who cannot confirm who they are or who they represent.
Police also say those who are coordinating the scams are often difficult for law enforcement to track because they are operating outside the U.S.
Those who may have questions or concerns can contact a local law enforcement agency such as Jamestown Police for further information.